How can Lake County improve signs on bike trails? Officials want to hear from you

 
 
Updated 4/19/2019 1:44 PM
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  • A rider takes a break on the North Shore Bike Path. A consultant is studying ways to improve signs on Lake County's bike paths as a way to encourage usage.

    A rider takes a break on the North Shore Bike Path. A consultant is studying ways to improve signs on Lake County's bike paths as a way to encourage usage. Courtesy of Lake County

Consultants studying how to make Lake County's bike paths more user-friendly want to hear from trail users at an upcoming public meeting.

The gathering is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, at the Lake County Division of Transportation headquarters, 600 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville.

Consultants working on the project will attend the informal open house to gather ideas from the public and answer questions.

The Lake County Board in January hired Corbin Design, a Michigan firm, to develop a strategy and standards for signs on county-owned bike paths. The goal is to give trail users more -- and better -- information in ways that will create strong first impressions, increase use and reduce reliance on motorized transportation, Lake County officials said.

Information could be added that helps riders better understand where they are on a trail, makes it easier to find trail connections and destinations or to find the closest public bathroom.

Signs, mile markers and informational kiosks could be part of the plan.

"What can we do on our trunk bike network to (help) people continue their journey, or encourage people to take more bike trips versus vehicle trips?" Lake County spokeswoman Brooke Hooker said. "There is a huge bike path network in Lake County ... and we want to encourage greater usage of nonmotorized options."

The study will focus on a stretch of the North Shore Bike Path -- between Butterfield Road and St. Mary's Road in Libertyville -- as a test segment. Strategies implemented there then could spread to the rest of the county's trail network.

The Lake County Forest District maintains more than 200 miles of trails. Lake County's transportation division oversees about 63 miles of bike trails. Municipal, township and park district trails run through the county, too.

County officials have asked municipal leaders to participate to see if elements benefiting their communities can be added. Local concerns could be addressed, too.

"One community may want to see us provide signage to direct path users to their downtown area," Hooker said. "They may also have more specific local information about drainage concerns or (a) need for pedestrian accommodations."

The consultants will be paid $125,760 for their work. Officials hope the study will be completed early next year.

To learn more about the study, you can watch a video at youtu.be/KCqbjrRcRzA.

Segments of the May 1 meeting will be streamed live online at facebook.com/lcdot.

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